LACONIA — Both of the men arrested Wednesday for heroin-related crimes in a drug sting are being held on high cash bail while police say nearly 40 grams of heroin were seized during the planned traffic-stop arrest.
Paperwork obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said Jeremiah Proulx, 39, of 740 Union Avenue and David Hobbs, 29, of 742 Union Avenue were allegedly bringing the heroin into the city on Rte. 106 from some place to the south.
Police said they consider this bust one of the more significant heroin arrests the department has engineered this year.
"Police believe he (Proulx) was bringing in excess of 100 grams of heroin a week into Laconia," said Capt. Matthew Canfield. "This is a significant amount of heroin that was being brought into the city on a regular basis."
Police obtained warrants for the arrest and search of each man, each man's apartment and Hobbs's car on April 22.
According to police affidavits, a confidential informant told them that Hobbs and Proulx were "traveling south later in the day to pick up heroin".
A city police detective watched the Lakeport apartment house and saw Hobbs walk toward Proulx's apartment. A few minutes later the two left Lakeport with Proulx as a passenger in Hobbs's car.
The detective followed them south on Union Avenue and on to Province Road and to Circle K in Belmont where Hobbs stopped for gas. Hobbs and Proulx continued south on Rte. 106.
A few hours later, the same detective saw the car returning north on Rte. 106 with Hobbs driving and Proulx in the passenger seat. He notified other police units who stopped Hobbs just above the Lakes Region Community College.
A second detective noticed Proulx appeared to be reaching down while he was seated in the car. After both men were taken to the Laconia Police Station, detectives found a Wendy's bag under the passenger seat. Hidden in the food were allegedly four "fingers" of heroin.
Police describe a "finger" of heroin as a stick that is about as long and as think as a single finger and estimate it contains about 10 grams of heroin.
Affidavits said the food appeared fresh and a receipt for it was found on Proulx's person that was dated April 22, 2015 and time stamped 2:43 p.m. at a restaurant in Londonderry.
The men were separated and put in different interview rooms at the police station.
After being read his rights, affidavits said Proulx admitted the heroin was his. He said he was unemployed, going through a divorce and was selling heroin to make money. He allegedly told police he had sold cocaine in the past and there was a large amount of marijuana in his apartment.
After Hobbs was read his rights, he allegedly told police that he would drive Proulx to his supplier in exchange for one-half gram of heroin. He told police he had been driving Proulx for a few weeks and making the trip nearly every other day.
Police said Hobbs told them he would occasionally sell heroin but "pinch" or dilute it with sugar before selling it. He also allegedly said would sell his Suboxone — a prescription drug designed to help people quit heroin — and use the money to buy heroin.
Affidavits said a search of Proulx's apartment revealed a safe that contained about $6,000 in cash, several bags of marijuana packaged for individual sale, other larger bags of marijuana, jars with marijuana buds, baggies with several pills for sale, "bindles" — or small packages used for the sale of powdered drugs — a scale and several baggies with powdery residue.
Police said Proulx's apartment was equipped with a working surveillance system with a DVR and several DVDs were found containing old footage.
Police searched Hobbs's apartment and allegedly found some drug-use equipment in the bedroom drawer next to his side of the bed. In a hollow Red Bull can they found three plastic baggies with residue. Police also recovered 25 pills bottles with varying numbers of Suboxine pills in a dresser door.
Proulx is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit heroin sales, one count of possession of narcotic drugs, and one count of possession of controlled drugs with intent to distribute.
After his appearance in court yesterday, Judge Jim Carroll ordered him held on $50,000 cash-only bail. At the request of city Police Det. Peter "Tony" Horan, Carroll also agreed that should Proulx post $50,000 in cash, a hearing would be held to determine the source of the money. As of yesterday, Proulx is represented by the Laconia Public Defenders Office.
Hobbs was ordered held on $20,000 cash only. He was not represented by counsel yesterday but Carroll ordered that as soon as he obtains a lawyer he could request a bail hearing.
Speaking from the video arraignment room in the Belknap County House of Corrections, Hobbs said there was no way he could afford $20,000.
"It's more than I make in a year," he said, as he began crying. "I really don't get into a lot of trouble."
"So I can't go home then, huh?" asked Hobbs.
Carroll shook his head and said "no".
Canfield said police spent about two months investigating the case before making the arrests yesterday.
"We consider this a significant drug bust and will continue to stop others who bring drugs in our city," Canfield said.
CUTLINE: The store front on the bottom of this four-apartment building lies vacant. Police disrupted what they said was significant drug operation when they arrested two occupants of the apartment building in a planned traffic stop Wednesday. City assessing records say the building is owned by a couple in Durham. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)